I’ve spent about a month, on and off, here in Batase village. Trips to Kathmandu, Everest, running events and other remote settlements have kept me busy otherwise but, now it has come to say goodbye, at least for a little while. Chitwan is the next stop for me and, whilst this is hugely exciting, I feel only sad that I am leaving. Festival time has just come to a close and, in my short time here, it has never been so quiet.
This holiday time is simply a time for families to come together and enjoy each other’s company. A giant swing, hand crafted from bamboo and grass rope entertains children as old friends sit around telling stories, laughing and eating their fill of buffalo. On my walk back into Batase the paths and winding tracks were packed with vibrantly dressed families, bearing gifts and food, on the way back from the cities to their true homes.
A few new faces have come and gone, as my last week plays out, work has begun on rebuilding the new hostel, destroyed in the earthquake, and there is even a new pup from the village dog. The runners are back to their training, after a short recovery period, and the kids are returning to school as life returns to norm and I have a chance to reflect on my experience here.
Batase is in no way perfect, as is the case with much of this world, but, it is these imperfections that have made it really feel like a home from home for me. Far from anything and everything village life is simple, and it is that, that I will miss most of all, second only to the people.
From where I sit now I can see the distant majestic peaks of pure white that make up the Himalayas enclosing this little world. Totally engulfed in green, these rolling hills are the waves of a slow but, violent ocean that Batase and hundreds of other villages are afloat. Shaping themselves around dense jungle, clinging to the arduous banks of this lush setting are the spoors of cultivated steps that cut their way into every viable inch of soil.
At night these hills are alive with clusters of shimmering lights mapping out the surrounding population, reflected a million times over in an astoundingly bright and unpolluted starry sky. Such natural exquisiteness could only be outdone by the fascinating charm of the people I have come to know and love here.
If you were to hear some of the stories that they have to tell it would be hard to imagine such a happy and peaceful place. The fact that some have come to accept that this is just the way life is, is heartbreaking in itself.
My stay here has taught me, amongst other things, that life must and will go on. Despite such devastating loses, in the face of a real struggle and some frightening evils, you can never give up.
Resilience is the word that will most come to mind when I think of the friends I now have here. The ability to show such strength, will and determination against everything that is thrown in the way of life here has inspired me beyond anything previous to coming to Nepal. Keeping a smile on your face day to day, a smile that takes over the whole face and is so infectious that it warms every part of you, no matter your mood, is definitely something I feel the world needs more of and something I want to take into my future.
I will forever have a smile on my face when I think of Nepal and Batase, they will forever hold a special place in my heart. Although I am leaving, this is not really goodbye but, a promise of my return and most of all, a thank you.
Thank you for all the long runs, walks and treks in this stunning setting. Thank you for all the games of football and volleyball, for all the delicious meals, cosy bed and touching hospitality. Thank you to the Take on Nepal boys who have made me feel welcome, looked after and loved every step of the way. Thank you to the children who are so willing and eager to learn, who have filled my afternoons with laughter and joy. Thank you to all those that have shared their stories of both happiness and heartbreak, for being so open, honest and kind.
Thankyou Batase, keep on running, never give up and I will see you soon.
To list everything I have done in my time here would be impossible but, thinking back through all those memories, I have previously shared with you in this blog, makes me feel honoured and so lucky to have had this time with these beautiful people. I can only urge you to do the same. Don’t just visit Nepal, have Everest thrust in front of you and maybe visit a temple or two. Come and take on its gorgeous countryside, take on its awesome culture, its unforgettable colour and its vibrancy. Come and take on the people for all the love and happiness they have to give. Take on Nepal and truly experience everything it has to offer.
P.s Please CLICK HERE to check out my fundraiser to help out the children here!
~ Toby Faulkner
© Take on Nepal 2020